Clearly, strong digestion is necessary for health. So, where does digestion start? We often think of digestion beginning in the mouth with the hugely important act of chewing. However, digestion actually starts before that ... in the brain. The first phase of digestion is called the cephalic phase and is ignited by the thought, sight, smell, taste, and touch of food. Once ignited, the brain sends signals to the mouth and stomach, via the vagus nerve, which results in increased saliva production in the mouth and the release of hydrochloric acid and pepsin in the stomach. Adequate saliva and appropriate stomach acid is critically important for strong digestion.
So, what happens if we eat on the go or while distracted by television? As you might have guessed, we bypass the first phase of digestion. Think about the last time you cooked a delicious meal at home. You probably found yourself salivating and perhaps your belly even started to grumble. These are classic signs of cephalic digestion kicking into gear. I get that life is busy and eating on the go (or while multi-tasking) is sometimes unavoidable. However, we can always take a minute or two before eating to stop and smell the food we are about to eat. Our body will thank us with improved digestion, increased energy, less brain fog, and more.